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May 16, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself . . ."—Daniel 1:8 (NKJV)
In the first few verses of Daniel 1, we’re told the Babylonians took the best and brightest amongst the young men of Judah and brought them to Babylon to serve the king.
Their lives had changed overnight, and sadly most of them experienced a crisis of identity. They were taken to a strange land, made to learn a completely different and strange way of life, to study false gods, and to eat and drink things they weren’t supposed to.
They were presented with all sorts of temptations, and most gave in. They forgot who they were; they allowed themselves to become part of the crowd and defiled themselves . . . but not Daniel. He didn’t experience any crisis.
He knew who he was; he understood his identity wasn’t built on Jerusalem or being Judean, but on being a child of God. And no matter where he was or what circumstances he was living under, he was determined to honor God and live without compromise.
In this story, over 3,000 young men were taken, and almost all of them compromised who they were. This isn’t to point fingers. Chances are most of us would have done the same for many seemingly logical and valid reasons. And so, it would be easy to sympathize with them given their situation and understand their choices. But that’s exactly how compromise works. It’s subtle and swift. It rationalizes and justifies and eventually eats away at one’s morals, values, and convictions.
In our lives, we will encounter similar situations. And while they may not look exactly like Daniel’s, the truth is every single day we’re confronted with the choice of compromising our convictions and consuming that which is defiled. More and more, the culture our around us is calling wrong right and right wrong, offering up that which is a distortion of God’s ways and will and hailing it as truth. More and more, our world seems to be celebrating sin and silencing those who stand on truth. So, what can we do?
Like Daniel, we can live with conviction in an age of compromise. We can purpose in our hearts to honor God. And unlike Daniel, we as believers have the Holy Spirit of God in us, who through the grace of God, “teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12 NIV) so that we “may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’” (Philippians 2:15 NIV).
And when we do this, God will use us to make a difference and reach people with the gospel of Jesus! So, Christian, today be encouraged to honor God knowing He will honor you!
DIG: Why is it so difficult to be a person of conviction in an age of compromise?
DISCOVER: How are you guarding your heart against compromise right now?
DO: As you seek to live like Daniel in your current circumstances in this present age, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you, to give you the strength, courage, and endurance to stand strong—enabling you to shine the light of Jesus into a world that desperately needs Him!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.